Additional Light Types

It would be nice to have some additional types of lights:

Cylindrical light
Planar Light
Emissive or Mesh light

I’m having a situation where I need light strips and I can’t properly represent it with point lights.

You’re in luck! We support tube lights. More specifically they are the shape of capsules. The parameter on point lights named Source Radius and Source Length controls the dimensions. I’ve done some experiments with rectangle light sources and I would like to add that in the future. My hope is to eventually find a good solution for image lights which would support many of the odder light shapes.

Hopefully we get those other light types. Tube doesn’t work–it just changes the reflection

Hey Brian,

I think we already had a chat about that in the dev space (for old school licensees^^). It would be really, really cool if you could consider a seperate light class that is fully area lights. No such things as “when the source radius is reduced to zero it should act like a point light”.

I think that this is the limiting factor here. Just think about true area lights that do not only change the specular shape, but also the shape in which light is emittet. Just as an example…look at the guys from Guerillia Games. They support true area lights in all shapes (and my guess is they can afford it because they are not also going mobile with their engine), but that just strengthens the argument of introducing different light types depending on which platform you are targeting.

PS: Dou you guys also think about volumetric lighting?^^ That would be VEEEEERY f****** cool :smiley: Or just add the bloom and occlusion shafts to point and spotlights…that could do the job as well (just not as fancy…thinks of smoke/fog that is being lit and casts volumetric shadows through a whole room :smiley:

+1. Agree on all light types. The new Killzone for PS4 has some awesome area lights - can we have that in UE4 please?

On the subject of volumetric lights it’d be nice if we could get volumetric lights like how they have in Killzone: Shadowfall, those ones looked really great

Decent volumetrics are something I’ve been wanting to see in Unreal for a while - stuff like the old Natural Selection 2 demos looked fantastic.

AFAIK, UE4 still doesn’t support actual area light shadows (or ‘area shadows’, don’t know if I recall it right), am I right? Basically, say, point light can be of any shape, but it still would be calculated as if it was a single… point emitting light?

Yes I don’t thin that shape of the light affects area from which light is emitted at all. It any affects reflection shape.
I might be wrong though, I didn’t saw any difference between diffuse in wide light and just point light.

Area lights would be so nice. Faking with point lights is not that bad, though it look strange, when you have wide reflection and light is still emitted from single point in space.

Are there any news about other light shapes? I am trying to do a projector light and so far I have been unable to dang it.
Any hints or directions are also very welcome.


I also hope we get arbitrary or at least rectangular light shapes soon (illumination&highlight). Particularly needed in a more offline/cinematic driven pipeline.

We added a feature in 4.6 to be able to use Emissive Materials to illuminate the world. This gives you greater control as you can increase it’s intensity through a multiplier and apply this to any mesh/shape you wish to act as a light source. This can save you some lighting and shadowing information too since it is simulating a light and not an actual light actor itself.

Emissive Materials to Light the World

In my test bed I have an example of how I used this feature in conjunction with UMG and a Multi-Sub Object to create a light wall which you can dynamically set its intensity via a button click.

Light Wall Mesh


Here is the Multi-Material set up for my light wall mesh.

Emissive Material with Material Parameter Collection


Here I have simply connected a Material Parameter Collection node to the Base and Emissive channels.
Light Wall with UMG


The last step to making sure this functions as a light is to enable the option under Lightmass section within the Details panel. Currently using a Material as an Emissive light only works with Baked Static Lighting. I do realize this sort of defeats the purpose of changing the lights intensity at runtime since it will need to be baked out again at that intensity, but it is just an example of the communication between the material editor and UMG. An added little bonus :slight_smile:


I hope this helps get you to a working point with creating custom lights!


Andrew Hurley

Any update on when we can expect arbitrary shapes or at least a planar light type? Emissive materials are only suited for certain situations since they don’t produce proper shadows and having only spherical highlights (stretched or not) in general is a real bummer!